The History of Pre-Angkor


Chapter3 Chenla and Angkor Kingdom 2017-3-31 (95% finished)

3 - 1 Origin of Chenla

Chenla was originally a subordinate state of Funan Chenla had been a part of Funan which was in charge of the land-route transportation of the imported western comodities from the ports of Burma to the Oc Eo port in the Mekong Delta. At first Funan imported goods from India and Arab and unloaded at the ports of Burma, such as Tavoy, Martaban, Tenasserim, and transported on land to the Mekong Delta It was a very long journey and many people were deployed secure transportation. Funa had several deposit centers along the route. For examoke Kanchanaburi, U Thong, Nakhon Sawan and Si Thep (Sri Deva) and all of these intermediary places had been developed by the Mon people from the ancient time. The Mon had controlled commercial activities since the prehistoric age.

Funan people ('Indian origin) stayed these cities and gradually established lesdership of the community. After long time, Funan people had become chief of the cities and king of local state. The most important city was Si Thep, where the boss became a ruler of the region. They gradually increased economic and military power.

According to the "Sui Shu(隋書)", Chenla was located at southwest of Linyi and originally a vassal state of Funan. Actually Chenla dominated important on land trade routes and the roads and the major river traffic-routes. They dominated vast rice paddy field along the major rivers of northeast of Thailand and had strong economic and military power. This was the situation at the early stage of the 6th century.

Michael Vickery denies that Chenla attacked Funan and merged it. He believes that Funan and Chenla were within one polity and could not be separated. Indeed Funan's one secction was Chenla, which was in charge of stocking and transporting the imported west goods. However their division of works was fixed for a long time, so the character of two groups had changed gradually. Funan group was in charge of the direct international trade and Chenla group had vast area of the northeast Thiland and upper part of the Mekong basin and became the landlord dominating farmers and villages.

The last king of Funan was Rudravarman, there is the following description in " Liang Shu( 梁書)". Kaundinya Jayavarman ( 僑陳如闍邪 ) had sent missions in 511 and 514 to China. Afterword his death in 514. Rudravarnman, a son of the concubine killed the younger brother who was the child of the lawful wife, and had a regality to succeed the throne. Rudravarman was a typical "usurper".

In case of such incident, it is not extraordinary that the political strife happens among the royal family. Chenla group might have taken advantage of political change of Funan's regime. As the land-route controller, Chenla's position was declining in the Funan regime since middle of the 4th century. However the economic power of Chenla was increasing because Chenla became landlord in the northeast part of Thailand. Actually they controlled Si-Thep and other farm area. However, on the other hand, Funan was prosperous by international trade. The role of Ban Ban state located at the Bandon Bay area increased instead of Si Thep and Oc-Eo line. So, the sentiment of the Chenla rulers became antagonistic toward Funan rulers. The conflict between the two groups was apparent after Rudravarman took the throne.

Rudravarman was a Buddhist and embraced Sivaism. The rulers of Chenla were all staunch believers in Sivaism, they hate Buddhism and even dislilked Vishnu. Buddha was considered as the incarnation of Vishnu.

Rudravarman probably died in 540. He had sent 6 times tributary missions to China, in 517519, 520, 530535 and 539. The Liang Shu (梁書)says "the envoy of Funan paid tribute of alive rhinoceros, and said in Funan they have Buddha's long hair twelve feet length. The emperor wanted the hair and sent high rank priest Sri Yun Bao ( 釈雲寶 ) to receive the sacred hair. "

On the other hand the rulers of Funan, Chenla's anticipating attack, they began preparation to shift headquarters to Ban Ban from the Mekong delta.

Bhavavarman, after the killing of Funan's royal family or expelled them, claiming to be the first Chenla king, inheriting the throne after King Rudravarman around 550 AD. Bhavavarman had clarified the point to identify himself as he belonged to the 'lunar line' of traditional Funan kingship. (Briggs, pp40)...

Why Bhavavarman pretended he was on line with the Funan royal family? On the other hand Jayavarman II declared he belonged to the 'solar line (Chenla family)' Anyway both lines left no 'DNA' evidence.

Chitrasena (later, king Mahendravarman), the younger brother (the different father younger brother?) of Bhavavarman was serving as the commander of the Chenla army.

One of his inscriptions is left at Si Thep. His relation with Si Thep was so deep as he is supposed to have come from Si Thep.

SI Thep had been the center of the Pa Sak river basin (Pa Sak Valley) in the paddy field rice-growing area, being in present north central part of Thailand.

However, basically land is not a personal property, but of the community. The ruler of the community was a 'leader of the villagers' and took care after problems of the village. M. Vickery suggests that is the character of the society. (Toyo, pp22-23) He continues "this type of organization was suitable for the pre-historic communities revealed by archaeology in northeastern Thailand, in which possibilities for concentration of wealth and territorial expansion were limited, and indeed in which communities may have been separated by large areas of unoccupied and unowned land.

Rudravarman, the last king of Funan is supposed to have been in Angkor Borei in southern part of Cambodia. However, there are opinions that Rudravarman and the leaders of Chenla had been near or distant 'relative'.

It is possible that leaders of Funan and Chenla had been in the brotherhood. But, the Chenla group in the inland area was in charge of the transportation of west goods at the same time they had controlled extensive rice paddy area. That means Chenla group had sufficient capability to amass large army. After Rudramana's death, Chenla army proceeded to the south to take over the trade business of Funan, and finally kicked out Funan rulers from the Mekong delta. Chenla had killed some princes of Funan, , but the most of the ruling class of Funan fled to Ban Ban with their navy. As the result Funan could have dominated the estuary of Mekong and the seashore of southern Indochina.

Chenla should have taken over the business of profitable trade from Funan, but miserably they had failed. Chenla started sending tributary mission to China in 616, but Chenla could not use the sea route which was dominated by Funan's navy. M. Vickery made a serious misunderstanding that Funan was in decline, and no longer an attractive object for conquest (M.Vickery, Toyo, pp79), However Chenla had been eager to send tributary missions to China, as the records shown later. Funan had been shifting its headquartes to Ban Ban since a long time ago. So Chenla could not take over the trade facility of Funan.

Isanavarman sent to envoy to China together with Linyi using the sea route in October 628. At that time Chenla informed their state also called ' Khmer. The origin of Chen-la is not clear, so Chenla people prefered to be cqalled 'Khmer'. 

After Chenla's leaders left Si-Thep for the administration of the new kingdom in Cambodia, the Mons remained at Si Thep and they continued their business as usual. As the result the culture of the Mons revived and flourished further there. The establishment of Mahayan Buddhist temples and Buddha statues are observed. There are large remains of Buddhism at Si Thep. Today, there remains large stupas of "Dvaravati style" and "Dharma Chakara". When Chenla leaders had stayed in Si Thep, they were keen Hinduists and basically rejected Buddhism.

U Thong was the second largest intermediary point of the Funan's land route. However the size of U Thong was smaller than that of Si Thep. Major residents of the both cities were the Mon speaking people. They were flexible about the religion, but they worshiped mainly Buddhism..

According to the Liang Shu, the capital of Funan was located at 500 li (about 200 km) from the river mouth, but it didn ' t specify a city name.

The Xin Tang Shu (新唐書)noted that the Funan had transferred the capital to "the Na-fu-na ( 那弗那) from ' Te-mu-city (特牧城) ' at first as Funan received the oppression of Chenla...

Coedes supposes that 'Te-mu city' was Vyadhapura, near Ba Phnom, but Ba Phnom had no direct access to the canal network to Oc Eo port and the Mekong River. (Vickery, pp61).

Considering the plenty of historical remains, Angkor Borei (including Phnom Da) was the most suitable capital of Funan, even though Angkor Borei fit for 'Te-mu city' or not is uncertain. Then the location of 'Na-fu-na' is the next ploblem.  Pelliot suggests it was 'Navanakar', Kampot province. Kampot area may be a probable candidate, where directly faces sea and had the port facility. There is inscription of Jayavarman I who donated there. (M. Vickery, pp41)

For short term, Funan shifted its capital to 'Na-fu-na', but Isanavrman did not allow Funan to stay in Cambodia. He finally expelled Funan until 630 AD.

As the conclusion, "Navanakar"is the most possible candidate of "Nafuna",

Lean Poh, port of Chaiya

Main rivers

Angkor Borei



3-2 Si Thep as the original base of Chenla, not from Wat Phu

The dominating area of Chenla was the land-route of Funan, starting from Si-Thep, the Chi River, the Mun River, Ubon Ratchathani and Champasak (Wat Phu). Certainly Chenla might have accumulated military force at Wat Phu to attack Funan. Hoever real Chenla's economic and political base had been located at different place. That was northeast Thailand.

Si Thep was the commercial center of the Mons from the ancient times where Indians came later, settled and established hegemony in the city. The contribution of Indian people to the local resident was significant. They taught many things to the Mons and Khmer people other than religion how to cultivate paddy field, how to manufacture iron products and sold the part of their imports from west. At the same time Indian imported Hinduism and spread among the local people. There are a lot Hindu images of deities. Many Surya, Krishna, Siva and Vishnu images were discovered at Si Thep and some of them are exhibited at the Bangkok National Museum. Q. Wales says there is similar Siva image at Bhumara temple in India. Probably the original image was imported from India, but local craft men made simplified the original image and made many copies. So, Vishnu images spread to the Malay Peninsula and other vicinities.

The inscriptions of Bhavavarman and Chitrasena exist at Si Thep.

Bhavavarman had not son of the succession, so after the death, Chitrasena = Mahendravarman, Bhavavarman's younger brother succeeded the throne.C. Jacques says they were the sons of Vivavarman.

C. Jacques says that the brothesrs came from the south of the Dangkrek Range and the north of Cambodia. Perhaps he wanted to say they came from Wat Phu area. Coedès had a similar opinion. However I suppose they came from Si Thep or the north of the Dangrek Montains area, because Wat Phu (Champasak) is too narrow to gather a big army. At least their family might have lived at Si Thep where was surrounded by vast paddy field with many farmers. The farmers ware source of large army. Champasak (Wat Phu) was the intermediary point of the land-route of Funan. The north of the Dangrek Range was from the economic point of view, very rich and prosperous at that time. There were iron, copper and salt making facilities and broad paddy field. Chenla group might have economic superiority from the beginning of the conflict with Funan. Chenla was a regional manager of an intermediary point of land traffic, but also Chenla was dominating the agricultural area and could have overcome the headquarters of Funan with their strong army. The movement of Chenla's military action was recognized by Funan's rulers beforehand and the main rulers of Funan had fled away to Ban Ban of the Thai Gulf. For Funan rullers, Ban Ban was sufficient to conduct trade, because the most of west commodies were unloaded at Takua Pa, and could directly ship to China from Chaiya. M.Vickery does not recognize this paticular condition of Funan, and its 'exiled' story and function of Ban Ban state. He believes that due to decrease of international trade, Funan group demised naturally within Cambodia Actually the trade with China had nexer decreased..

After kicked out Funan rullers, Bhavavarman I set up his capital at Sambor Prei Kuk (30-40 km the north of Kompong Thom), where later became Isanapura, the capital of Isanavarman. This place keeps some distance from the Mekong River to avoid sudden attack of exiled Funan. Funan maintained a strong navy and controlled the estuary of the Mekong River and the South China Sea.

The inscriptions of Chitrasena exist in northeast Thailand, the Pasak valley, Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima), Ubon Ratchathani, Phimai, Surin, Ta Praya (Sa Kaeo province) and in Cambodia at Kratie. The range of his activities has greatly extended in the northern part of the Dangrek mountains. The inscriptions of Bhavavarman exist at SI Thep, Battambang, Stung Treng (Cambodian territory) and Wat Phu (Vat Phou). These two brothers are a genealogy of the rulers of the land transportation of Funan and their stronghold was in the north eastern part of Thailand.

Coedès says that Wat Phu, Laos was the first Chenla stronghold of Chenla, but his view is not correct as above mentioned...

Coedès named Srutavarman and Sresthavarman as kings of the early Wat Phu district (Coedès, 1968 English, p66). However M. Vickery points out that the two old time kings were named for the first time in the inscription of Jayavarman VII period (12th century) of (M.Vickery, p 42)...

These two kings were not known their exact position of 600 years ago. This method is a typical approach of Coedès... It was probably impossible for Chenla to conquer Funan with the small army, amassed from Champasak area. Champasak and Wat Phu had not so large rice field and the population was relatively small compared with that of Funan's dominating left the area. The large army of Chenla probably had been mobilized from the vast farmland of the Pasak Valley and northeast of Thailand...

On the other hand, Funan was the international trading state, and promoted the development of a rational international trade route. Finally Takua Pa (Ko Koh Khao) in the Malay Peninsula port was selected. From Takua Pa to Chaiya on-land route was fixed as their constant course. They used the small rivers, the Klong Sok and Phum Dung River. Further from Ban Ban state Funan directly sailed to China, under the name of Fuan and sometimes under the name of Ban Ban. Funan maintained two trade names to China since the middle of the 5th century, starting from Os Eo port in the Mekong delta amd from Chiya to China.

The Funan's mainstream of trade, since the middle of the 5th century, gradually changed from Oc Eo to China, to "Ban Ban"to China. They moved their navy to the Bandon Bay, together with craftsmen, sculptors in advance. For instance we can see the similar Vishnu images of Angkor Borei, at the Chiya, Surat Thani district.

The Xin (New) Tang Shu says that in Shi-li-fo-shi (室利仏逝、Srivijaya), there are too many men (males). This suggests Srivijaya maintains many navy soldiers. It is unreasonable arguing of M. Vickery says that foreign trade is facing the loss so Funan has made "natural demise".

3-3 Pre-Angkor Kingdom

C. Jacques says, "King Bhavavarman I was a prince from the region of Wat Phu in southern Laos. He had not been chosen as successor to the throne of his father's small state and decided, nevertheless, to establish a kingdom of his own. After having conquered of the main part of what is now Cambodia, he had set up his capital some 30 kilometers from the town now called Kompong Thom. The precise location of his city, near or on the site of Smbor Prei Kuk, has not yet been identified. (C. Jacques, pp56)

C. Jacques says that Bhavavarman was too ambisious to inherit his father's small kingdom and he independently expanded his territory. His intention to take over Funan's business was very clear from the beginning. Furthermore it is not sure that he was a prince of the Wat Phu kingdom. Bhavavarman extended his kingdom for northwest town of Battambang, where he left inscription. Why Battambang? There was no gold mine, but on the nearest route to Chantaburi port, from where Chenla could have attacked Ban Ban (Chaiya) and the shortest trade route to the Malay Peninsula.

On the other hand, according to C. Jacques, his 'less ambitious' younger brother Citrasena, had inherited small kingdom of Wat Phu from his father. However his activity as the commander of Chenla had been very striking. He left many inscriptions as above mentioned.

After Mahendravarman's death Isanavarman(616?-635?) succeeded him. He placed his capital at Isanapura. Within the city wall more than 20000 families existed.
Isanavarman established his capital 30 km north of Kompong Tom,soon after he took the throne, around 618. There are about 170 ruins of Hindu temples, government houses and a large king' palace.
Shiva was enshrined in the temple. Also this time Harihara appeared for the first time, combining Shiva and Vishnu. But Shiva faith was most valued as the religion of Chenla Government.

promoted administrative reform and invited many scholars and Brhamen from India

Isanapura is located about 30 km from
the river Mekong River, that is probably he avoided the sudden assault of formerly Funan. apparently he was aware of the existence of Funan power. If at all Chenla integrated Funan peacefully, as M.Vickery says, Chenla icould have sent "tribute by the sea" smoothly. Chenla continued sending tribute to the Tang dynasty, but mainly used the land route. The navy of Funan and Shi-li-fo-shi had been heavy obstacle for Chenla..

On the death of King Isanavarman I in 635 ?AD, one of his younger sons succeeded under the name of Bhavavarman II. M. Vickery says that his original name was Bhavakumara and later becamr king (M.Vickery, p24). But Briggs says that he was not a son of Isanavarman.and his reign was very short.(Briggs, p52,53). He was far from having the prestage of Isanavarman, and failed to maintain the unity of the Chenla kingdom. The princedoms regained their independence. One of these was situated in the north of province now known as Kompong Thom. Later, Jayavarman I, grandson of Isanavarman I tried to rebuild the empire of Isanavarman I.
Indeed, the reign of Bhavavarman II caused the disunity of Chenla. One reason is his legitimacy as a king of Chenla. Briggs strongly insists that Isanavarman was succeeded by Bhavavarman (II), who was apparently not of Isanavarman's line. No doubt the succession was disputed. (Briggs, p52).


Inscription of Citracena, Ubon Ratchatanee Museum.

Two inscriptions related Chitrasena were discovered at Ubon Ratchathani (K.496-497) and another (K363) was discovered at Champasak in Laos. These are written the name of 'Citrasena, also named Mahendravarman, younger brother of Bhavavarman, son of Vivavarman'.

In another inscription (K.508), a word, 'grandson of Svabhauma', is added (M.Vickery, pp74).

Some more inscriptions of Chitrasena are at Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Pimai, Surin, and Ta Praya. All of the inscriptions were in the north side (today's northeast area of Thailand) of the Dangrek mountains where were his main activity area. At that time the north-eastern area of Thailand (Isaan) was very prospherous and verious kind of indusries.

M. Vickery says "The 'Dangrek' inscriptions should be regarded as records of exploratory probes rather than enduring conquests, with little, if any, permanent effect (in the words of Coedès about K. 213). a simple cry of victory not implying a permanent occupation of the country; and I would not interpret Mahndravarman's inscriptions as 'delimiting' any kingdom, either his father's or his own. " (M.Vickery, Toyo, p79). However his interpretation of these inscriptions is a little biased. ' Simple cry of victory 'would not elaborate their family relation'. Apparently Si Thep had been their 'home town' and not conquered area, because the local people celebrated their success.

About the reign dates of the kings of Chenla are not identified exactly. M.Vickery says that Mahendravarman's reign, no fixed date is available.

About Isanavarman, traditionally accepted date of reign (616? - 635?) have been based on a Chinese record of a Cambodian mission in 616, and also believed to have been his and reference to him in a Chinese report dated 635.

Bhavavarman II may have been recognized as king after 637 and until the mid-650 s, although only two dates 637, 639 and or 644, are associated with his reign in contemporary inscriptions,

The dates of Jayavarman I are similarly controversial, and I suppose here roughly 655 / 657-680 / 81. Only one date in recorded for Queen Jayadevi, 713, and then there is no more dates associated with the names of rulers until the first inscriptions of Jayavarman II in 770 and 781 "(Toyo Bunko p22).

Isanavarman had two sons, and their mother was from the Adhyapura family. The elder brother was Sivadatta and younger brother was Bhavakumara, later King Bhavarman II. Sivadatta was ruler of several cities (pura), Bhavapura, Adhyapura and Jyestjhapura. Sivadatta might have become a member of the Adhyapura family which was the most influential.

Isanavarman was the most powerful king of the pre-Angkor kingdom. He assigned many local governors (kings). However they often claimed some degree of local autonomy, with the exception of Adhyapura family, which is not recorded after the time of Bhavavarman II. (M.Vickery, Toyo PP25)

M. Vickery says :
"A more forceful policy of centralization was instituted by Jayavarman I (657? - 681?), who may also, through his mother, had been in a line of descent from Isanavarman, and who does not appear of the Adhyapura family, although he was in a way adopted by them retrospectively, meaning that he probably married into their group". (M. Vickery, Toyo, p25)

The capital of Jayavarman I was said to be Purandrapura, but not identified, however he did not settle in Isanapura or Bhavaputra as his capital.

All of these beginning kings, Bhavavarman, Mahendravarman and Isanavarman, are known as staunch Sivaists and suppressed Buddhism. Economically they failed to promote international trade by sea, especially the tributary to China. So, they could not have increased their wealth as expected.

As M. Vickery says that the irrigation system had been discovered between Funan and Chenla times, but the scale of the artificial ponds were small and carried out at the level of the local communities and no remains of large hydraulic works have been discovered. Vickery (p306)

As for the expansion of rice field, they had done only a little, and neglected the large scale expansion of irrigation system. Through pre-Angkor time, economic development was limited. As the result, the pre-Angkor kingdom declined without the trade profit.

Land was the property of the community and problems concerning it were part of a boss ' responsibility, but the land was not his property.

The inscriptions related Bhavavarman were discovered at Battambang  (K.213, his name only) , and Si Thep inscription (k.978) which says ' Bhavavarman, son of Prathivindravarman, grandson of Cakravatin ', and that of Stung Treng(K.359) says 'Hiranyavarman, son of Somasarman and of sister of Bhavavarman, daughter of Viravarman' (P74-75, Vickery). Judging from the existence of their inscriptions, Bhavavarman is a son of Viravarman.
They had established their base at Wat Phu and Stung Treng, along the Mekong River.


Photo 21.Wat Phu Of the distant view seen from

Photo 22... Sacrifice scaffold

Photos 23. WAT Phu Buddha footprint


Photos,24 Vishnu, Phnom da and Phnom Penh National Museum

25 Vishnu, system, wichai, Bangkok National Museum

26 Vishnu, Tak APA, Bangkok National Museum


3-3-1 Isanavarman

The Sui Shu says that Citrasena expelled Funan rulers, but some Funan people might have remained in south part of Cambodia... After Mahendravarman's death Isanavarman succeeded him. He placed his capital at Isanapura. Within the city wall more than 20000 families liviving. In the city there is a big hall in which king practised usual administration. There are 30 big cities near the capital, and each city has several thousand families living and has army. The officials ' titles are same as those of Ling-yi.

It is remarkable that the administration system of Chenla and Linyi are similar. Isanavarman's daughter married with a prince of Lin-yi. His daughter Sri Sarvani married to the prince of Cham, Jagaddharma. However, he lied at Bhavapura of Chenla, after involed with some trouble. They had a prince, named Prakasadharma (諸葛地 ), and he mounted the throne of Champa in 635, as Vikrantavarman (Briggs, p52). This is recorded in the inscription in Mi-son and in the Chinese annals. 

The Xin Tang Shu writes that Isanavarman completely expelled Funan at the early time of the ' Zhen Guan ( 貞観 . 627-649AD) era and integrated Cambodia Chenla.

Judging from this description, Funan might have maintained some territory in Cambodia until around 630 AD. However their main staff migrated and stayed at Chaiya. Isanavarman was "protector of the Master Siva" and succeeded his father, Mahendravarman. More than a dozen inscriptions are attributed to the reign of Isanavarman.

From a little above the month of the Mun River, including the lower valley of that river, the Chenla of Bhvavarman and Mahendravarman, according to their inscriptions and momuments seems not to have included much more than a strip along both sides of the Mekong including the Tonle Sap basin, perhaps to the Great Lake, and the lower part of the 'V' area between the Mekong and the Tonle Sap.

Briggs says "Funan, at the South, seems to have enjoyed a degree of autonomy and may still at the beginning of Isanavarman reign, have exercised some control over the coast of the Bay of Camranth (Panduranga) and have had the loyalty of some of its maritime colonies." (Briggs, pp47)

However, Funan rulers fled away to the Bay of Bandon area (Ban Ban state), because Bhavavarman killed some princes of Funan, and there was no place to stay in Cambodia after the victory of Chenla. Antagonism between Chenla and Funan was very severe, so Chenla could not have sent tributary mission to China through the sea route. For a short period Funan group could have survived at the sea-shore area, for instance Kampot, but they were probably attacked by Chenla and could not have stayed for a long time.

About "Aninditapura", Briggs says as following:

To the west of the Mekong, Aninditapura--at this time, probably called Baladityapura seems to have occupied the valley of the Sung Sen, a tributary of the Tonle Sap parallel to the Mekong and the territory to the west, to the line running from the eastern end of the Great Lake, roughly corresponding to the present Kompong Thom.

As above mentioned, Isanavarman's wife came from Aninditapura family. Adhyapura was located near Ba Phnom. She got two sons, Sivaddata and Bhanakumara. The younger brother Bhanakumara later became Bhavavarman II, who was the chief of Bhavaputra, apparently upper Mekong.

Sivaddata was assigned as the king of Jyesthapura, near Ta Phraya. Sivaddata also left inscription at Prachinburi, near the Gulf of Thailand. What means the separation of two brothers? While Isanavarman was alive, there might be little problem. Isanavarman tried to pull together local leaders under his arm to centralize political power. However, after his death, serious problem might have occurred within Cambodia.

(Sacred Mountain and Pyramid)

Coedès says that the Mountain Lingaparvata "written in the Sui Shu" is the high mountain of Wat Phu. of which peak shaped huge natural lingam. But M. Vickery considers that judging from the context of the Sui Shu this mountain should be close to the capital of Isanavarman, and it was probably 'Phnom Suntuk' 30 km away from the capital. The sacred mountain should be near capital. The sacred mountain was considered as the center of the universe, that is the basic idea at the time. Lingaparvata is located too far away as the sacred mountain of Isanavarman. Later, in the Angkor kingdom, many kings constructed piramid style towers and the tallest tower was considered the sacred Mt. Meru where the king's linga was set up.

Brahmanism took a very unusual form, apparently for the first time in Cambodia, during the reighn of Isanavarman. This was the worship of Harihara- Vishnu and Siva combined in one body.(Briggs,pp51). This harihara became popular in Chenla.

3-4 End of Pre-Angkor

Yi-Jing wrote in the “Nan Hai”at the end of the 7 th century.:


“After one month journey to the southwest, there is Funan country. In the past Funan was a naked people’s country. Nowadays many people believe in Hinduism. Once in Funan, the law of Buddha prospered and spread, but wicked kings (of Chenla) destroyed it and ther are no more monks, and non-Buddhism (Hindu) prevails” 

Coedes says Jayavarman I (657-681?) is a son of Bhavavarman II, but M. Vickery thinks he is a son of Chandravarman (Vickery, pp26).

Usually Jayavarman I is said to be a son of Bhavavarman II, but there is a differnt opinion that Jayavarman I (655- 681?) was born as the son of Candravarman of the local lord in Kompong Thom by Soma royal family. Directly, he has nothing to do with this Adhyapura family but his wife came from the Adhyapura family. (Briggs, p54).

His inscription which attached the title of Maharaja ( k1059 ) have been found. Certainly he integrated whole Cambodia. However, Jayavarman I, despite its outward success the unity of Cambodia into cracks. (Jacques. p57).

He has sent army for the first time throughout Cambodia and confirmed unity, then he sent troops to upper Laos and Yunnan Province in China. His capital was Purandarapura but were not identified.  

Vyadhapura ( Prei Veng ) is Kampong Cham (Kompong Cham) of in the South. Some say here was the old capital city of Funan, but M. Vickery denys it. However, this area used to be commercial activities and flourished. Jayavarman I seems to love this region. The old capital city to the north of Kampong Thom (Isanapura) was in the defensive position and unsuitable place for economic activity. Jayavarman I tried to unite Cambodia, but his intention was unsuccessful by the division of the country. Jayavarman II later selected this area as a starting point to control the whole Cambodia.

Jayavarman I left 13 inscriptions during the reign. Among them he has been hailed as warriors. He had stretched the forces to Siem Reap, Wat Phu, Battambang, Prey Veng, Takeo (Phnom Bayang), Thailand border Preah Vihear and Kampong Thom's Han Cheikara. Expedition to the northern central Laos is also recorded (Briggs, p54). Anyway he managed to maintain unity by military force, but he gained only nominal and superficial unity. Jayavarman 1 directly controlled territory of the Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham in the center of Cambodia. His capital was supposed located at Purandarapura where is unidentified yet. Briggs supposes his city "Banteay Prei Nokor", 1.2 km southeast from Kompong Cham. (Briggs, pp57).

Banteay Prei Nokor is called Banteay Prei Angkor was locted at Kompong Cham area, where is the remains of the Prast Preah Theat Toc, in what afterward became the citadel Banteay Prei Nokor.

In the time of Jayavarman I, inscriptions related Buddhism began to appear. He himself is regarded even as a Buddhist.

More than 150 years later, after the reign of Jayavarman II, the Angkor kingdom, the central administration was recovered. It was beginning of the Angkor dynasty. Even though Jyavarman II pretended as Sivaist, but the Mahayanist Buddhism became rapidly popular which was the most worshiped religion of Srivijaya.

After the death of Jayavarman I in 681, until the declaration of independence Jayavarman II in 802. More than 120 years, the central administration did not exist.

On the other hand, local governments had stable tax-income of rice farming and comparatively rich and strong. Stable income of local government became obstacles to establish the powerful central government.

King Jayavarman 1’s successor (son-in-law) was weak. His daughter, Jayadevi’s husband Nripaditya succeeded to the throne but he had done nothing for the unity. Local chiefs had stronger power already.Jayadevi finally took the Queen's position. However, the territories were devided. Her power was limited in the South (water Chenla), and lost the "central control". Jayadevi also lamented the division of political power. Coedès says that Jayavarman 1 no male successor, Queen Jayadevi could not maintain the unity of Chenla. But M. Vickery says that Cambodia was not patrilineal heritage society. .

3-4-2 Division of Chenla

M. Vickery points out weakness of the Chenla polity.

" Conflict could have arisen as certain poň ( fan =king or ruler) accumulated great wealth through trade and then tried to secure control over land and increasing numbers of retainers, perhaps even over the traditional religious-political-prerogatives of poň-ship, for their own immediate families and direct descendants.

This type of conflict was exacerbated after the decline of Funan, when inland rulers began to develop their communities through ever greater organization of land and people, probably stimulated by wealth, experiences, and awareness of greater polities which had been acquired during heyday of Funan. “

 The Jiu Tang Shu ( 旧唐書 ) says "Shen Long ( 神龍) 2nd year” 706 AD, Chenla was separated by two states, the northern part with many mountains and deep grass, called “Land Chenla” and the southern part, near sea and plenty of water, called “Water Chenla”. Water Chenla has width of 800 li, the King's palace is located at Baladityapura.  The same story is written in the Xin Tang Shu, which added that Land Chenla was called ' Wen-tan (文単). However Wen-tan may be a subordinate state of Land Chenla, which often had sent tributary missions by land-route.

With one or two exceptions, the Land Chenla had sent mission to Tang via on-land route.

Water Chenla governed commercial area to Central Kampong Cham where was predominant in economy. This area included Aninditapura region, and Jayavarman 1 had the capital there. C. Jacques does not fix the location of Anindithapura, but the name appears in the inscription of the Angkor period.  C. Jacqes says the location was Purandarapura. However Purandarapura itself is not identified. That is approximately the same as Anindithapura, where would be slightly South of Kampong Cham. The area near the Tonle Sap Lake, located in the basin of the Mekong River, is famous for its commercial activities, regional economic development was observed.

On the other hand, Land Chenla was located northern part of Cambodia and the north-east of Thailand. Kratié of Mekong River was the center Land Chenla. Tributes to the Tang dynasty were mostly done by Land Chenla, through the on land trade route, using the upper Mekong River. Geographically Land Chenla was inland and basically agricultural area. The new economic development could not be expected so much.

Except for Sambhupura, now the region of Kratie in the northeast, which had its own recorded royal dynasty throughout the 8th century, and which may never been controlled by the kings of central Cambodia, there are only nine 8th century inscriptions outside the area and time which may be associated with Jayadevi, and none mentions a king by name. (M.Vickery, Toyo. Pp27)

M. Vickery are suspicious about the description of the Xin (Jiu) Tang Shu. However, high-ranking Chinese official unlikely to tell an easy lie about such an important matter under the supervision of Ou Yang Xiu (欧陽修). The written records on the Chinese annalas are mostly based on the information of the envoys of "Land Chenla". Chenla could not enjoy the trade advabtage of Funan after the victory over Funan. So,the economic power of Chenla kings seems to have declined.

The separation Land Chenla from Water Chenla might be the biggest factor for the declining of the Chenla kingdom.

 Land Chenla had continued sending mission to Tang, 10 times during the 8th century. However the mission of Wen Tang after 753 was by the instruction of Land Chenla or by Wen Tang’s intiative was quite dubious.

 Srivijaya group regained control over the South India Sea. Probably the army of Srivijaya landed 'Water Chenla's territory' south of Cambodia before 770. In 768, 'Khaling (Sailendra)' started sending envoy to Tang, that meant Srivijaya had recovered hegemony in the South China Sea before that. The commander of the Srivijaya army was Jayavarman II who left inscription dated 770 at Kampong Cham district.

M. Vickery says the international trade of Funan had declined and had lost the signifivance, however Chenla sent missions many times as following.

In 616 (Chenla to Sui), In 623, (Chenla toTang), 625, 628 (Chenla with Linyi), 635, 651, 682 ,697, 707,710,717(Wen Tang=Land Chenla), 750 (Water-Chenka?), 753 (Weng-tan), 755 (Weng-tan), (Weng-tan) 767, 771 ( Weng-Tan, ), 780 (Chenla), 798 (Weng-tan), 813(Water Chenla), 814 (WaterChenla), 1116 (Angkor, under Suryavarman II), 1120 (Angkor), 1155 (Angkor and Lopburi), 1200 (under Jayavarman VII, Angkor).

Chenla sent the tribute for the first time to Sui Yang Emperor in 616. Since in 623 to Tang., in 628 , Chenla sent envoy together with Linyi by sea. In 628, Isanavarman asked Linyi to send envoy to Tang by Linyi's ship. The both states visited Tang at the same time, the October 628. At the time Tang's Emperor Tai-zong (太宗 ) was very delighted and said 'Chenla's effort is highly appreciated, coming on-land and by sea ' and gave large award to Chenla. Especially neighoring states ' friendly relation was most favorable for the Tang Dynasty. Chenla apparently had sent mission before through on-land route before, using the upper Mekong River and entered Yunan then to the capital of Tang. However Chenla could not use the sea-route any more, because the activity of Funan's navy became stronger. And in 643, Linyi appealed to Tai-zong to stop Funan's harassment at sea.

In 750, Chenla sent mission with its tribute ‘alive Rhino’ which is difficult to transport on-land. So this mission might go by ship. If so, this Chenla is without doubt ‘Water Chenla’ which occupied Chiya area and temporary gained freedom of sea-faring from Srivijaya. This is historical guess, but Water Chenla might have attacked Chaiya around 745, and got martime freedom temporarily. After the devision of Chenla in the early 8th century, Water Chenla's economic qand political power was stron. So Water Chenla could attack Shi-li-fo-shi, located at the Bay f Bandon area.

In 814 and 814, Tang recorded that Water Chenla missions came, but they were probably ‘Angkor mission’. However, after this, Jayavarman II might be prohibited to send envoy to Tang by Srivijaya.

 In 1116, Angkor restarted sending envoy to Tang after 3 centuries absence, under Suryavarman II. At that time Angkor kingdom got freedom from Srivijaya (San-fo-chi). Suryavarman II was entirely free from the control of San-fo-chi.

According to SKT inscription(dated,1053), in 802,  Jayavarman II declared the full independence from Java (Srivijaya), and he became the King of the world" . However Sdok Kak Thom(SKT) inscription was written in 1053, which is the only one inscription about Jayavrman II. M.Vickery says the SKT inscription is fictious.

The story of fully independence from Java seems fiction. In Japan a famous historian says in NHK TV that Angkor was the center of east-trade. However Angkor had not trade relation with China for 300 years, so Angkor could not have been trade champion of Southeast Asia.

The Jiu Tang Shu (旧唐書)writes about Water Chenla;


"Water Chenla 's geographical position is that the border , east-west-south-north 800 li (320 km), east faces Panduranga (current Phan Rang), west faces Dvaravati, south faces sea and north faces Land Water. The capital is caled Baladityapura(婆羅提跋)but its real location is not identified yet".

C. Jacques says it was P
urandarapura and M. Vickery says it was City of Indrapura Then where was Indrapura? Judging from inscription (k.105 and k.325), it is said that ‘Banteay Prei Nokor’ south of Kompong Cham,might be the most suitable place.

3-5 The End of Pre-Angkor ( Chenla)

After the death of Jayavarman I in 680-681, the throne was succeeded by his son-in-law Nripaditya. But he could not govern the kingdom, so Jayavarman's daughter Jayadevi became the queen of the kingdom. Her inscription dated 713 was left in Angkor area, and her title was ' vrah kamuratan an' which meant the Khmer royal title and her inscription exists at  Ak Yom, western end of West Baray..

Acctually she governed Water Chenla area, Queen Jayadevi seems so far respected by local chiefs. But she could not maintain its national unity, and her dominion was said to be limited around Aninditapura= exact location unspecified) said, and stayed in the area. In the 8th century no central government existed. But is the southern half of the Cambodian somehow Water Chenla maintained so far strong power, and Water Chenla probably attacked Srivijaya around 745 and temporarily occupied Chaiya for nearly 20 years..

According to Briggs, when Isanavarman attacked Baladityapura area. Then Anindithapura first surrendered to him. The rulers of this region, came from the blood line of Kaundinya-Soma (柳葉) , in other words they are blood group of traditional Funan line. Of course it is dubious, but they wanted to say they were different from Chenla group. However they are probably not included in the main family of Funan and in the neutral position.

The "Xin Tang Shu” says the capital of Water Chenla was ‘Baladeva (婆羅提抜)’,  so it miht be ‘Baladityapura’ as Coedès says. Originaly, there was King Baladitya in the past. But the location of ‘Baladityapura’ is not identified. C.Jaques says it may be Purandarapura where is also, unclear. M. Vickery suggests it might be Indrapura. (Vickery, p355).  But Indrapura's location ia another problem. Inscription K.105 and K.325 tell us it is in the South of Kampong Cham, Nokor (Banteay Prei Nokor). In the 7 - 10 centuries, Indrapura might have been from Kampong Cham to Kampong Thom area, (Vickery, p356).
However, after long term, Indrapura might be narrowed, and Kampong Cham was the major city in the South. Perhaps King Jayavarman 1 had put his capital there.

Water Chenla's territory was the lower basin of the Mekong River, which leads to the Tonle Sap Lake area. It was in the heart of the economy of Angkor.

"Land Chenla" had the two big cities aling the Mekong River, Sambor (Sambhupura)and Kratié, however economic activity was slow.
M. Vickery is skeptical about the separation of Water Chenla and Land Chenla. However the Tang court recognized two separate states.

Briggs says: " At first, Sambhupura may have included the Khmer settlements beyond the mouth of the Se Mun (Mun river), including what later became Upper (Land) Chenla in what is believed to have been the vassal state of Bhavapura. ....The first ruler of Sambhupura mentioned in the inscriptions is a female -presumed a daughter of the supposititious Sambhuvarman. This daughter married Pushakaraksha, son of Nripatindravarman of Aninditara, and he thus became king of Sambhupura."(Briggs, p 58)

. However, M. Vickery completely denys this story. He says that stories related Pushakaraksha is all Coedès fiction. (M.Vickery, Coedès ' Histories of Cambodia, p18, 2-7 reference )


No. 3 Survival of Funan and establishment of Srivijaya

Funan regime was certainly kicked from the Mekong Delta, but the political economy of Funan turns the name to Shi-li-fo-shi= Srivijaya, then developed greatly.

3-1 Funan was alive

The Xin Tang Shu syas Funan was destroyed in the middle of the 6 th century by Chenla. However, Funan appeared as a tributary state in the Tang times.

The Xin Tang Shu says that Funan sent missions two times, 'Wu-Di (618-26) and Zhen-Guan (627-49) times.Funan presented two white head men, who were captured at the west border of Funan. ”武德、貞觀時,再入朝,又獻白頭人二.” Furthermore, According to the” Ce-fu Yuan-Gui (冊府元亀)in 643, king of Linyi (Champa) asked the Emperor for assistance to stop the attack from Funan.
After appeal of Linyi, Funan kept silence, but Funan was preparing the next step )to form Shi-li-fo shi (Sri Vijaya). Funan merged Red Earth (赤土) before 670. Then Funan changed its name as 'Shi-li-fo-sh (室利佛逝), and sent its first ambassador to Tang in 670.

According to the Xin Tang Shu, Funan was located 2,000li (800km) south of Ri-nan (日南). People are same as Huanwang (環王=Linyi) and black colour and have similar custom. When king goes out, he rides on the elephant. Paddy can be cropped three times a year. Tax is paid by gold and incense. People live in the grass-roofed cottage on the water. King's palace is rather humble and the royal fami
ly had surnamed 'ku-run =古龍’which sounded 'kunrun=崑崙' The word "Kunlun (崑崙)" is unique in the Chinese and Southeast Asian people call themselves "Kunlun" is unlikely.

This story is similar to King of Ban Ban state. The King of Ban Ban state had surname "Yang=楊". "Yang" means "King" in the Mon language.

According to the "Tong Dian=通典”,compiled by Du You (杜祐)in 801, Ban Ban (
媻or盤盤) had weak army and the arrow-head is equipped with stone, even though the head of lance is made of iron sword. Ban Ban had been obliged by Funan to have weak military. Buddhism is popular and there are more than 1,000 monks with 10 temples for the ordinary monks and one upper class temple for senior monks. Furthermore the common people are studying the Sanskrit language.
Funan put Ban Ban under control since the middle of the 3 rd century, after Fan Man occupied Ban Ban. Ban Ban's economic value was so great, so Funan had chaged the nature of Ban Ban as its subordinate state for the international trade. However, no historical document recorded this fact.

M.Vickery says Chenla merged Funan peacefully. He says there is the inscription K53 Inscription ( 667 , which tells there was kings minister's family which had worked for Funan and Cnenla dynasty for 4-5 generations ( Vickery, p41 ). Of cource such cases might be, but the majority of rulers of Funan excavated to Ban Ban beforehand.

On the other hand, there is 'Han-Chey' inscription, at Kompong Cham, which tells us Bhavavarman after chasing fleeing the enemy princes and killed them all. After the victory he dispatched the group of musicians advertising the victory. Without doubt there existed battle between Chenla and Funan.The two inscriptions on the inner door pillars of the old brick samcuary at Hanchey, just above Kompong Cham on the Mekong, were among the first discovered and were long considered as the most ancent in Cambodia.

3-2 Disappearance of Funan and establishment of Shi-li-fo-shi

Funan of old Mekong area once disappeared at the middle of the 6 th century neighboring states started sending tributary missions to China. Because the controlling power of Funan once disappeared、and the sudden freedom was given to Langkasuka, Dvaravathi,Kandari, and Red Earth.

Exiled Funan (Ban Ban) merged Red Earth (赤土)
probably in the middle of the 7 th century, and established a new country Shi-li-fo-shi(室利佛逝). Red Earth was former Kan-da-ri (干陀利)、of which major ports were Kedah and Songkhla in both sides of Malay Peninsular.

As for temporary Shi-li-fo-shi are "Xin Tang Shu"
senri area East-West, North-South 4000 GC far. Mitsuro 14, more than 二國-General "and become long narrow country, because the locations are too far apart to capital 2 says that the divide in the city. One would be in Chaiya Kedah was also the capital of the "red country" before another. No difference was responsible on the Straits of Malacca, Kedah. 670 Shi-li-fo-shi' Tang played tribute first, further 680 in order to control territory throughout the Strait of Malacca in the early Melayu southern Sumatra, Jambi, palembang, the Bangka Island soldiers, emboldened by Kha-ling in Central Java, also 686 took control of in the year. At this time become biggest territory of Srivijaya. In Funanold Southern forces at this time already ousted Cambodian true Chenla internal divisions and rivalries elsewhere, had achieved big development in.

Paul Wheatley says:
"On the dissolution of the Funanese empire, its successor, Chen-la, possibly because of its continental origin, failed to consolidate its supremacy over the Malay Peninsula, whereupon the former dependencies in that region hastened to establish their autonmy by dispatching embassies to the Imperial Court of China". (P.Wheatley, p 289.

Indeed some new states came up to China, after the middle of 6 th century, however every state might have failed to 'establish their autonomy'.

P.Wheatley picks up some examples:
"At present there are notices of only four kingdoms'. Judging by the records still extant it is possible that the Sui (隋)analist was here referring to
P'an-p'an (Ban Ban), Ch'ih-t'u (Red Earth), Tan-tan(Khalatan) and Ko-lo(Kedah)
However P.Wheatley forgets two more kingdoms, Langkasuka(狼牙須国) and Dvaravati (堕和羅鉢底).

(Tributary states to China, near the Malay Peninsula)
Dvaravati (堕和羅鉢底):583(頭和),627-49,638, 640, 643, 649,
Tan Tan(丹丹): 535, 571, 581, 585, 616 ,666(単単), 670.
Red Earth(赤土):608, 609, 610.
Kandari(干陀利): 441, 455, 472, 502, 518, 520, 563.
Langkasuka(狼牙須国):515, 523, 531, 568.
Ban Ban (盤盤):423-53, 455, 457-64, 527, 529, 532, 534, 542, 551, 571, 584, 616, 633, 635, 641, 648, 650-55.
Shi-li-fo-shi (室利佛逝):670-673, 701, 716, 724, 727, 741.

1. Red Earth is the former Kandari and probably merged Langkasuka.
2.Shi-li-fo-shi is the former Ban Ban and merged Red Earth, and Tan Tan. After 670, Shi-li-fo-shi became the sole tributing country to Tang from the Malay Peninsula.

3-2-1 Langkasuka (狼牙須国) tribute

Langkasuka country (currently Nakhon-Si-Thammarat) first made tribute in 515, 523 and 531 2 , ( 568 Years) was. Total 4 is still tribute records of the times. Funan's political infighting started in 514 (Rudravarman usurpation,514 years), such as, is considered Funan's maritime power started showing the decline temporarily. Lankasuka is Ban Ban's neighbor so they can get information promptly. Probably they caught the information of Funan's trouble and took the prompt action to send an envoy to China.
Later Langkasuka might be merged with \kandari (干陀利) at the end of the 6 th century, and formed 'Chi-tu=Red Earth'.

The theory that Langkasuka is Pattani, is an obvious mistake is this. Without a doubt, Langkasuka was today's Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The Sui Shu records:
" Yang-di (煬帝)sent 'Chan-Jun (常駿)as a Special Envoy to "Red Earth (Chi-Tu)", and he reported that after passed the Condor Island, 2 days later he saw a high mountain towarsd the west direction. It is a land-mark of Langkasuka. Actually , behind Nakhon Si Thammarat, there is Mt .(Khao) Luang
(1820m), which is the highest mountain in the region. Unfortunately at Pattani there is no mountain at all.
Curiously, many Thailand's modern historians believe that Pattani is Langkasuka. The western historians made up such a story and many Thai people still believe it.
Zhu-fan-zhi(諸蕃志)is often refered as the reason of Langkasuka's Patani theory. But the author Chao Ju Kua(趙如适) did not use the same script as the Sui Shu. Sui Shu 's Lankasuka is 狼牙須国、but Zhu-fan-zhi's Lankasuka is 凌牙斯加. Furthermore,in Zhu-fan-zhi, Patani is quoted as 抜沓(Pa-Ta).

The Liang Shi says that Langkasuka opened the country in the 2 nd century.But the successor of the king was weak, so the strong royal family succeeded the throne. 

Possibly Langkasuka started the foreign trade in the 2 nd century, and its import ports were Krabi, Phuket and Trang at the west coast of the Malay Peninsula.

3-2-2 Kan-da-ri (干陀利) ,Red Earth (赤土)and Srivijaya (室利佛逝).

Kedah had been convenient port to import western goods. So, Kedah started the tributary trade since the 5 th century. In this case Kedah state used the port on the east coast, for instance Songkhla, Kelantan.
In the Chinese annals, the name of Kalatan (呵羅単) had been recorded since 430 AD. Kalatan was very civilized state and accepted Buddhism as early as the 5th century.
Kalatan tributed: in 430, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 441, 452, Kandari tributed; 453, 455, 502, 518, 520, 563 Tan Tan ributed 535, 571, 581, 585, 616. Red Earth: 608, 609, 610.

The Min Shi (明史)says that the old name of San fo chi is Kandari. 明史 「三佛齊,古名干陀利。」
This short sentece means "San fo-chi was Kandari (Kedah) ". But many histrorians (followers of Coedès) consider that San-fo-chi is Srivijaya, so Kandari is locater in Sumatra. However, Kandari was Kedah. How miserable understanding of ignorant historians.

In th San-fo-chi time, the neotiator with the west countries was Kedah, so Kedah had been known as San-fo-chi for foreign countries, especially for Arab and Chola (Tamil country, south India).

As above, the Kedah lines had continued the tributary missions from Kalatan, Kandari and Red Earth. And finally this export line was absorbed to Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) after 670 AD.

From Funan⇒Shi-li-fo-shi⇒Sailendra⇒ San-fo-chi (三仏斉)

Many historians consider that San-fo-chi was Palembang or Jambi. Even M.Vickery obediently accepted theory of Coedès ; Srivijaya was Palembang, on the island of Sumatra. Ming dynasty says as above, San-fo-chi was Kandari. The author of the Min Shi was better. Actually "San- fo-chi union regime consists of Jambi,Kedah and Chaiya.
The allied polity of major Srivijaya's big three states. So when San-fo-chi first visited the Tang Dynastu in 904, Tang recorded that Fo shi came to tribute and gave the ambassador Po Kho Su (蒲訶粟=Abu Hassan?) the title of the Ning Yuan General(寧遠将軍). (唐会要、Tang Hui Yao). At that time, the official of Tang recognized they came from Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya).唐会要、天祐元年、「授福建道佛斉国入朝奉使都番長蒲訶粟寧遠将軍」.

San Fo-Chi (三仏斉)means 'Three Vijayas'.
Before San-fo-chi, Sailendra (later Kha-ling) had dominated the tribute mission of Srivijaya group. However Sailendra dynasty of the central Jawa had lost hegemony after Maharaja Samaratunga (son of Panankaran) died around 820. The crown prince Balaputradeva was defeated by Sanjaya prince Rakai Pikatan, whose wife was Balaputra's elder sister princess Pramodawardani. As the result Balaputra left the Jawa Island and fled to the old terrirory of Srivijaya (Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula). At that time Srivijaya group had temporarily lost control of subordinate states. Jambi.sent its own mission in 852 and 871. New Khaling (exiled Sailendra) also sent an envoy during 860-874 from the Peninsula.
However such kind of independent and separated activity was not profitable for every state, so they decided to collaborate each other and formed a single allied polity ' San-fo-chi' at the end of the 9 th century. Their method of trade is collecting the tribute goods from Srivijaya group to Phatthalung (Near nakhon Si Thammarat) and transport them to Sathing Phra, then shipped to China. So, Phathalung was the distributing center for San-fo-chi and shipping port was Sathing Phra. In 2014, occasionally big amount of gold products were discovered at Phatthalung. They were the evidence of Phatthalung's role as the distribution center of Srivijaya group.

3-3 The disappearance of the Srivijaya(室利佛逝) and rise of Sailendra

However, after 742 the name of Shi-li-fo-shi suddenly disappear from the Tang Chronicles. Shi-li-fo-shi must have been involved with "serious trouble" to stop the tribute. Only one probability is that "Water Chenla"must have attacked Chaiya successfully, but it is not recorded in any historical document. In this case "Land Chenla" could not be invader, because it ruled the Middle Mekong in Kratié area, and could not go down the Mekong River, through the Water Chenla’s territory. Usually "Water Chenla" must have maitained some navy fource.

But we see nodirect evidence on this case. Ligor inscription dated 775 tells indirectly war with ‘strong enemy’. Ligor inscription has a nature of ‘victory momument’, which was set up at Wat Wieng , Chaiya, but later removed to Nakhon Si Thammarat (Ligor) by king Chandrabhanu in the 13 century. (See below, Ligord inscription)

In the middle of the 8th century, Srivijaya had been very busy for the operation and anagerment of the Malacca Straits, and they had deployed small navy for the defence of the home country of the Gulf of Thailand.

Water Chenla must have murdered many of the staff of Srivijaya at that time. Srivijaya group constructed new
3 big pagoda ( Wat Wiang, Wat Keo, Wat long). for the memorial of killed people. There might be large massacre. The Bangkok National Museum bronze Avalokitesvara (Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara-Padmapani) is found at Chaiya, from Wat Boro Mahathat (some say from Wat Wieng).

Photo 29. Statue of Kannon Bodhisattva of Chaiya, Wat Phra Boro Mahathat Temple, Bangkok National Museum

Srivijaya group sent tribute to Tang in 768 under the name of 'Kha-ling (訶陵) after 100 years absence. But as for Srivijaya group, the last mission of Shi-li-fo-shi was in 741, so after only 25 years interval, Srivijaya group had resumed tribute. The War Memorial of their so-called "Liogor inscription dated775 year" is a sole evidence about the event. Sailendra's navy was the main fource to recover Chaiya area, occupied by water Chenla. This achievement of the Sailendra' king (Panancaran King) was put forward for Srivijaya Group Maharaja (king of kings). Sailendra dynasty is originally one of Funan's subordinate states, established in 686. There are many discussions about the origin of Sailendra. M. Vickery says that the Sailendra family is Jawa origin. But it seems impossible that king of outsider is chosen as the "Maharaja".

Sailendra navy's victory emboldened Srivijaya which proceeded to the Mekong river and attacked the hub city of the Chenla along the river, and Champa (near the Mekong Delta). M. Vickery says that the Sailendra attack was repulsed by the Champa King.

Srivijaya navy was repulsed after destroy the Po Nagar temples and robbed of lingas and treasure of the temples. Actually Srivijaya retreat after the destruction of Po Nagar area. As the result Linti had totally stopped tribute to Tang after 750 AD

Srivijaya had suppressed all coastal areas of the Malay Peninsula, Java, Indochina (Cam Ranh Bay area up) and the whole Cambodian (Khmer) after 770AD. Jayavarman II is considered the commander of the Srivijaya force which conquered Chenla and retrieved the former Funan world. In the 6th century Chenla expelled from the Mekong Delta Funan power, but after 200 years later, Chenla lost their great Empire including Cambodia and the north east of Thailand. However, one declaration of the Srivijaya Maharaja (Great King) is not made there. On the contrary, according to the Sdok Kak Thom=SKT inscription (1053 , ), Jayavarman II made the "Declaration of independence" from the "Java (Srivijaya)". However, it seems that the new Angkor dynasty was under the control of the Srivijaya. You can see the influence of Srivijaya, if you look at the Angkor dynasty's tributeary performance, 300 yeras nothing. Furthermore the the expansion of Mahayana Buddhism all over the Angkor territory.
Indeed, Srivijaya had been 'the quiet Empire'.

I am convinced as above mentioned that Srivijaya dominated Cambodian after Jayavarman II's invasion. Such a view is written by Q. Wales in his " Towrds Angkor". But M. Vickery and other historians entirely do not think so. In any case Sailendra (Srivijaya) in the Mekong River basin in 760s built the military base somewhere. There is the inscription of Jayavarman (II?) at Kratie (Land Chenla capital) if that "Jayavarman" means Jayavarman II occupied at that time.The Srivijaya army had occupied Kompong Cham area earlier than Kratie. Kompong Cham had been dominated by Jayavarman I.
M. Vickery says that Jayavarman II dominated Indrapura (South of Kampong Cham) where had bween the stronghold of Jayavarman I.
Considering 2New Khaling" sent tribute mission to Tang in 768, Sailendra navy should have secured the Mekong Delta river mouth before that.

The stoy that Srivijaya broke into the Mekong River and entered the coastal capital, killing the King is prevailed among the Arab merchants, and an Arab scholar, Sulaiman wrote the similar story in 851. An ambitious Chenla King was anxious to attack the Maharaja of Srivijaya, but the Maharaja knew beforehand his intention and attacked Chenla. The Chenla king was beheaded by the Srivijaya armyr and his head was retuurned to the prince of Chenla king. Who was the Chenla king? Q. Wales suggests that was Mahipativarman. However he stayed throne during 780-788. However, King Sumbhuvarman reigned during 730-760, so he might be a killed king.

3-4 M. Theoretical problems of M.Vickery

3-4-2 Michael Vickery critisize Coedès  

Here I must check the theory of Dr. Michael Vickery. He acquired Ph.d. at Yale University in the United States who since around 1960 have lived mainly in Cambodia, and continued research activities. He has published about Khmer and Champa excellent papers. Many of M.Vickery's works are on his blog, but unfortunately in his main work "Society, Economics and Politics in Pre-Angkor Cambodia: The 7th-8th Centuries. Tokyo"Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies for UNESCO, The Toyo Bunko, 1998... "( Toyo Bunko published ) is excepted from his blog. This book is difficult to purchase from market, but many libraries provide it.

M.Vickery points out many of
misunderstanding and exageration of Coedès in Southeast Asian history performance. It is not limitted to Srivijaya but also "former Angkor = ancient Khmer history".

In the following, M. Vickery trys to clarify the understanding of Coedès. One of the papers are housed in a collection of his blog, which is "Coedès ' Histories of Cambodia" in Silpakorn University International Journal (Bangkok) Volume1, January-June 2000, pp.61-108.

" The Indianized States of Southeast Asia " 1968 Edition ( The original France language ) should be called as the mastrpiece of Coedès.
Coedès has many followers, and one of them is
American scholar O.W.Woters. He says that ' no course on earlier Southeast Asia history shuld be taught anywhere for foreseeale time without frequent reference to Coedès's book '.
In addition, renowned as an authority on the history of the Thailand David K. Wyatt even says that match thesimilar tone. He says that Coedès is "standard textbook" required reading for the student to learn the history of Southeast Asia.

In fact
Coedès books had been treatd as both scholars say the 'world standard'. But I read often and know it can be a terrible mistake as M.Vickery says. Especially the theory of Srivijaya, Coedès wrote a lot of mistakes and lies from the beginning.

Wyatt was a Cornell University of Thai historian, and Wolters was a specialist of history of Indonesia (early Indonesian commerce) and Srivijaya history etc. In his essay on the phenomena of ancient Indonesia seemed to be without firm evidece.

M. Vickery is fine do you read the Coedès and swallow the ridiculous, the handling of the "hold" saying no. I also book Coedès Coedès was aware that land mines are hidden in various places, full of danger. Where hidden lies and mistakes the amateur cannot be determined. However wanted to graduate students of Oriental history in Japan was made the No. 2 in the famous University of foreign languages should be "France," and rejected the students 'Chinese language' and had existed until recently surprised. In short if you study theory of France it was OK with it in. Graduate students do not read the Chinese classics to more natural, and the Southeast Asian history of Japan is more often than not.

"Coedès about Vickery so truncate .

"Coedès, in his books, did not write as a scientist. These books are not high-standard schalorship. They are intellectual entertainment for well-read dilletante. They are monuments to uncritical synthesization, some of which belongs in historical romance, not in history "

M.Vickery says that the works of Coedès are possibly not worth the name of historical science, but like historical novels. M. Vicckery adds "Coedès a great synthesize-indeed that may have been his greatest talent when functioning as writer of historic accounts; and he had to find, or imagine a connection every detail and some other detail in another time or place " and Coedès is like the history narrative authors rolling up stories, to the trivial fact of it here and there without thinking of time.

Certainly on the Palembang Keducan Bukit Inscriptions,Coedès found the word Srivijaya. But Coedès decided Palembang was Srivijaya itself and Srivijaya is Shi-li-fo shi. However Palembang is Palembang, one of subordinate states of Srivijaya.

Coedes achieved a great discovery with the point (Coedes is not the first person to have find the word, Srivijaya and Shi-li-fo-shi) to have tied to "Shi-li-fo-shi = Srivijaya". Shi-li-fo-shi ( Srivijaya ) in the Chinese text was difficult how to read, but it is certainly Srivijaya.

Until this point Coedès was correct, however he derailed from the real history of Srivijaya. He misunderstood ' Palembang was the capital of Srivijaya and the newly assigned king Jayanasa was the Maharaja of Srivijaya.' Palembang was a newlly occupied by Srivijaya and became one of the subordinate states of Srivijaya.

In the classical the Chinese book, Shi-li-fo-shi (室利佛逝) was not identified properly, so Coedès ' reading is highly appreciated by scholars. 'Srivijaya' from the inside of the Kedukan Bukit inscription at Palembang should have been considered more carefully. This inscription is basically the victory momument of the Srivijaya's army against the local kingdom. However Coedès jumped to the conclusion that in 683, the Srivijaya kingdom was established at Palembang. Actually the army of Srivijaya invaded Palembang from the Malay Peninsula with big navy force, but they were modern 'marine' and crew fought on land. Their number was recorded as 1.312 persons.

Coedès had made grave mistake from the very beginning and the Srivijaya history had distorted to the terrible direction.

Xin Tang Shu ("new book of Tang,) says that Srivijaya had 14 subordinate states and the west of Shi-li-fo-shi is Lang-po-lo-si (郎婆露斯) , the Nicobar Islands. So the location of Srivijaya is on the Malay Peninsula, not Sumatra.

Coedès decided the king of Palembang, Jayanasa as the Maharaja of Srivijaya group. But Jayanasa was Dapunta Hyang, and the commander of Srivijaya troop which attacked the Southeast Sumatra Island,

Tthe first tributary of Srivijaya to China was recorded between 670-673, however when Yi-Jing left Kanton in 671, he already knew Shi-li-fo-shi. So, the ambassador of Shu-li-fo-shi came to Chaina in 670. But Coedès says the first tribute of Srivijaya was in 695. This year is the Tang court decided to give food for the returning tributary mission. Actually Shi-li-fo^shi did not visit China in 695. This is only a rediculous fiction of Coedès. Coedès thought Shi-li-fo-shi had been established in 683 (Kedukan Bukit Inscription) so, Shi-li-fo-shi should have sent an envoy later than that. So Coedès decided, the first Shi-li-fo-shi mission was in 695. However there is no evidence at all to support the fablication of Coedès.

No historian in the world has pointed out yhis kind of apparent misunderstanding of Coedès. At least Japanese historians can read Chinese text directly, they should have noticed the distortion of Coedès.

M.Vickery appreciated the capability of Coedès as reader of the ancient inscription. However M.Vickery criticizes Coedès ' method to make his histrocal framework and unscientic understanding of the history. Certainly Coedès often did not respect the historical facts and neglected historical scientific analysis. M.Vickery says that his book should be called "novel".

After reading the analisys of M.Vickery, many complicated facts are well clarified. However he also makes some misunderstanding. For instance that Funan declined naturally because the international trade deminished and Jayavarman II's 'Java' meant 'Chmpa' and so on. He lacks the basic understanding on Srivijaya...

M. Vickery has sorted out many important problems. However,M. Vickery hs to correct some of his 'hypothesis'. For example he thinks "Java" as Champa in his view and he underestimates the importance of Funan totallly. He says the foreign trade had been declining, so Funan had to disappeared soon or later, and the development of Funan was ignored, so he failed to discuss the relation of Srivijaya and exiled Funan.

It goes without saying that there is need for Cambodia's ancient history researchers have to make more research on many aspects. Many of them also depend upon the hyphotheses of Coedès. History of Cambodia should be paid more attention to the relatiion of Srivijaya, especially about the Angkor dynasty.

THey seem they need go beyond M. Vickery's view about the history of Khmer.But M. Vicariy's book features, lots of new things revealed from the inscriptions, especially on the social structure. According to him is the surplus of rice farmers harvest of 60%. If this estimation is correct, the economic power of rulers might be ooverwhelming. They can accumulate considerable wealth and they could have constructed many temples and castles as we can observe today.

However, during the pre-Angkor times, the surplus might have been smaller, so Chenla rulers could not move many soldiers compared with the Angkor kings.
So, the pre-Angkor dynasty could not have amassed military power to domonate local chiefs. And Chenla kings failed to maintain the "centralized" system.
After, Jayavarman 2 in the Angkor dynasty, the productivity of rice cultivation was imroved drastically owwing to the irrigation projects, the Angkor dynasty succeeded to establish the true Chenla Central Government.

The aspect of the inner economy of Chenla regime is not so clear. About land ownership of paddy field, farmers seem they had only cultivation rights. The land ownership belonged to temples and local chiefs.There remains about "donations" in the inscription.

No money as a medium of exchange, was used. As the exchange-tools, silver bullion and clothing (many of which are imports from India) and rice were frequently used. Basically barter trade was used for daily life.

Inadequate formation of centralized government did not have a common currency, and the underdeveloped commodity economy need not currency. However, under Funan regime, some portion of coins prevailed, because Funan treaded internationaly they needed money. The coins became the measure of value, and in the medium of trade. It is not, however, a "barter" economy in the domestic rural areas, people did not use these coins.

M.Vickery's achievement in the decipherment of the ancient Khmer inscription, and correcting predecessors such as Coedès' mistranslation or misunderstanding must be highly evaluated first. But he also has some serious misconceptions. The main points are described below.

3-4-3 M.Vickery's misleading

M.Vickery also makes misunderstanding that Chenla stretched forces in the territory of Funan and merged Funan. The reason is Funan had lost economic power due to the decline of foreign trade, and Funan surrendered to the Chenla naturally and was absorbed and was not annexed by the armed forces of Chenla says M.Vickery.

This is a serious misunderstanding. If so, Chenla had not tried desperately to send the tributary mission to China after the annexation of Funan. Moreover, Chenla developped the land routes to send mission after Funan intersepted by naval force the sea route of Chenla. Chenla actually used the land route pioneered by the Mon people.

M.Vickery ignores the importance of Funan's foreign trade. However from the beginning of domination, Chenla's tributary trade-oriented policy is clear. But for Chenla it was unexpected that Funan fled with navy and increased the navy force in "Gulf of Thailand and South Sea". Therefore unavoidably Chenla had to develop the land route road from the upper Mekong River to Yunnan province. Tribute by land was responsible for the small state "Wen Tan (文単)", which is supposed Vientien, Laos.
Also Chenla tried to use the trade ship of Linyi to multiply the tribute by the sea. In 628, Chenla ( king Isanavarman) sent mission to the Tang court with Linyi as above mentioned.

However such a method had not lasted long after the death of Isanavarman, and there occured the political confusion occured in the Linyi side.

M. Vickery understands Cham is "Java" (that Word accent). Certainly the Cham tribe is a family of Austronesian languages and Cham tribe is skilled in sailing.

The problem here is in 802, Jayavarman II had declared independence from the "Java", according to the SKT inscription.  Coedès believed Funan fled away to "the Java island" and here M. Vickery believes this 'Java' is Champa. Unfortunately Coedès and M.Vickery are both wrong.There is no inscription in Champa that Jayavarman II amassed huge troops to invade Chenla.

King Jayavarman II was probably born in the royal family of the Srivijaya in Chaiya area where he grew up. Jayavarman II's background of parents and ancestors are not known, but M. Vickery says Jayendra-dhipativarman is his relative on his mother side, but the name of Jayavarman II's parent is unclear.

Angkor had not sent the tribute mission to China from 814 until 1116 for 300 years. It is great mystey why Angkor dynasty had not sent tribute to China for long time.

(Summary of the Chenla)

After the death of Jayavarman I in 681, Chenla significantly was loosing its political power. The unity of Chenla had collapsed in the early 8 th century. According to the Chinese chronicles, Chenla was devided betweenWater Chenla(south) and Land Chenla(north). From the economic point of view Water Chenla was more active than Land Chenla.
Chenla dynasty had centralized system in the early stage, they improved the economic situation a little,and could not enjoy the profit of the international trade. On the other hand the local chiefs enjoyed authonomy and increased power, as the result the central government could not control them. The central goverment had no authority to control local chiefs.
The politics of the central authority of Saivism could not control and influence people's mind.
Siva faith is ultimately King religion and did not get the support of farmers who had experienced Mahayana Buddhism in the Funan regime.
Rulers of Funan went into exile to the Ban Ban state and unified central Malay Peninsula. And finaly established Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya ), which had the strong economic power to monopolize the trobutary mission of the Malay Peninsula to the Tang dynasty.
And in 680s, they put Melayu infront of Singapore, Jambi, Palembang under control, and finally Srivijaya conquered Khaling in the central Jawa.

Probably the invasion of Chaiya district by Water Chenla, was as the resukt, the cause of destruction of Chenla. The war between Funan and Chenla was moved to the sea and Sailendra navy (Srivijaya army) overhelmed Chenla finally at the Bay of Bandon and the river side of the Mekong.

Linyi (Champa) narrowly escaped the occupation but had to stop the tribute after 750. Jayavarman II is dispatched from Srivijaya as the commander, and almost 30 years later he wiped out the old Chenla power from Cambodia.

New political system is the creation of major rice industry with the construction of a large irrigation pond. And widespread Mahayana Buddhism to the masses while maintaining faith in Siva, Vishnu and Hari Raya in religious terms.Mahayana Buddhism had been widely accepted by people.


Chart 1 , M. Chenla dynasty Kings


King names 


Chinese classics , Etc.


Bhavavarman I

550-600 ?

Elder brother of Chitraswna.



600-611 ?

  Bhavavarman's half-brother, Mahendravarman, His father is Virvavarman



611 ? -635?

 Isanavarman have been strategic ruler who integrated Khmer kingdom and wiped out Funan completely from Cambodia.



Bhavavarman II

635 ? -655 / 7

Isanavarman's youngest son.


Jayavarman I

655/7-681 ?

 Spread the Chenla territory most.


Queen Jayadevi


Jayavarman I's daughter. Mourn the disunity of Chenla.




 The following is not a King of the national unity.








 Killed by Sailendra?


Rajendravarman I


 Was the ruler of the coastal regions? (Briggs p105)